Sunday, October 23, 2011

Liberian Adventure

Naomi and I enjoy the half hour of sun between storms on Saturday.

Wednesday I had the opportunity to leave the beach for the day and go to civilization. The owner of the restaurant we eat at 4 times a week (Rossi), the owner of another restaurant called the Pizzatree (Andre) and I dropped two ladies who were housesitting off at the airport.

We left San Miguel at 7:00am and drove up to Nicoya and dropped Andre off so he could do his shopping there and we continued to drive another 1.5 hours to Liberia (this is the direction of my parents property). When we got there Rossi took us to a souvenir shop so the ladies could bring things back to the states for their family. I looked around but felt the souvenirs there looked like they were cheaply made and way too expensive so I will be saving my shopping for later. Then we got to the airport and dropped the ladies off and continued a half hour north to an actually shopping center.

When we got to the shopping center I had a list of things to get for all the Pretoma volunteers as well as a list of things I needed. One of the things was anti-itch cream for all the bug bites everyone has. I ran into the pharmacy and showed them my legs and said I needed something for the bites. They sold me a tube of cream for $8 but when we got back on the road I was looking at it and realized the active ingredient was lidocane. That’s the same thing that was used to numb my head in January when I had to get staples in it. So needless to say it works great, you can't even feel the part of your body you rubbed the cream on or the finger used for a couple hours!

Our adventure continued to a cute Italian food supplier and Rossi bought all sorts of cheeses which of course means I am even more excited for this weekends meals! Then back to Nicoya to pick up Andre and onto Samara to say a quick hello to Rossi's friend.

As we were nearing home the sun was just about to set, so Rossi took us up to his rancho up on the hill where you can see every beach for 40 kms. It was gorgeous! When we got up there the sunset was beautiful and the first one I had seen for almost 3 weeks (its been too dark and rainy to see anything).

Maddie, Naomi, Hannah and Me enjoying a much needed
break on Saturday at The Flying Scorpion
I ended up making it home just in time of dinner at 6:30 and right after dinner Amanda, Rossi's fiancĂ©e and my good friend, called and told me since it was my night off she made me a Margarita with fresh squeezed lime juice.  So I ran back to the restaurant and hung out with Amanda for a couple hours.

As for the seaturtles…. The hatchlings are finally slowing down. We had a week and a half where we were releasing 600 + babies every single night, that’s about 7 nests hatching each night. Now we are back to 1 or 2 nests which is nice because we have been having so many nesting turtles too.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Anything is Possible in October"

For the past 2 months I have been patrolling every night for at least 3 hours, looking for turtle tracks and hoping the turtle is still on shore. Well yesterday afternoon the best thing happened….

It was 4:15 in the afternoon which means all the local men come and play soccer on the beach in front of the Pretoma house. I went out to talk to the local coordinator to make a change to the patrol time for the night, when he tells me too look 50M down the beach. THERE WAS A TURTLE!!!! Apparently all this rain brings benefits, like turtles deciding to nest during the day.

I think the best way to show how amazing it was is by pictures and videos….

Mama turtle laying digging her nest

The eggs being laid

The 'Turtle Dance" as she covers her nest.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Turtle

Counting babies.

Exactly 50 days ago from today I went on my first patrol in Playa San Miguel . That night I had barely walked 100 meters before I saw my first turtle track. Not only was the turtle still on the beach; she was just starting to make her nest. I spent 25 minutes of my first patrol watching the turtle make a 41cm deep hole with her back flippers before laying 91 eggs. While she was laying her eggs I measured her shell size, track width and placed a metal tag in both her front flippers.  Then I took a backpack full of these eggs back down the beach to the hatchery. I dug a hole using the same shape and depth of hers and then carefully placed each egg into the hole.

All 85 babies.
The reason I am talking about this is because I have been paying special attention to this nest waiting patiently for it to hatch and this morning it finally was time. 85 of my 91 eggs emerged as turtles at 4:50 in the morning. The weather was horrible but Maddie and I put on ponchos and walked to that same place on the beach to release the nest of turtles. The babies were all eager to get to the water and ran as fast as they could.

October is the rainiest month down here; and true to form the rain has begun and hasn't stopped for almost 72 hours. So last night we thought patrol should be cancelled but Maddie and I felt bad so when we released this nest we also walked the beach one time to see if we could find any turtle tracks. However with all the rain it was impossible but we did find a collection of dead animals that had been washed onto shore, including a very fresh male turtle and an armadillo.

All and all the time here is passing way too fast. I have almost been here for 2 months! I hope time doesn’t continue to fly by, well maybe October can cause its so miserably cold and wet!

Sunday, October 2, 2011